By Heidi Trautmann
On April 7, 2010 at 18:00 hrs the exhibition of photographs by Erkki Raskinen was inaugurated by Her Excellency, The Ambassador of Finland, Riitta Resch, at the Art Studio 110, Demak Business Centre, Mufti Ziyai Effendi Str., 1st floor (Feridun Isiman’s Studio.)
We arrived early at Feridun Isiman’s Studio which he often opens for friends to exhibit their work, a very friendly gesture. Already many people stood outside the door waiting for the Ambassadress to come and cut the red ribbon. Many friends of the photographer had come, friends of the seventies from both sides of the Green Line, who were young people then and now speak Finnish, a language they learnt from the many Finnish UN Peace Keeping Force soldiers. A Greek Cypriot man, working at the Larnaka Airport, told me many stories of those days, and also that he has visited Finland a hundred times and is now building a house there to spend his old age years there, where there is tranquility and human respect.
A fine collection of memories, a fine collection of photographs showing mementos that do no longer exist today. I will place some of the photos here.
I repeat again the background story which I already displayed under cultural events:
In the early 70’s Erkki Raskinen was in Cyprus as a soldier of the United Nations Peace Force and in his free time he took photos of the people of Cyprus and their daily life. That influenced his further career and he made it his lifelong business, he became a journalist and reknowned photographer. Today that makes 40 years, that he first came to Cyprus.
Erkki Raskinen is known from many exhibitions and has won several international awards at photography competitions.
İn 1988 his work “Ecstasy of Freedom” was elected “The News Photo of the Year 1988” and “The Press Photo of the Year1988” in Finland. It is the story of the singing revolution of Estonia.Young boys are waving the flag of Estonia at the open air concert in Tallinn. Initiated by this Estonia became independent.
Nikon-competition Japan 1993: Honorary Award by the photograph“ Papal hat ”.
Austrian Supercircuit 2001: Bronze medal at the World Greatest İnternational Exhibition Contest for his work “Papal hat”.
In 2009 Erkki Raskinen has published a book “ Lehtikuva by Erkki Raskinen”, a biography telling of his career as a Peace Force soldier and as a newspaper photographer illustrated by photos.
In 1970 Feridun did many portraits of Finnish soldiers for their families back home. So Erkki became one of his many Finnish friends. In 1974 Feridun went to Finalnd for a one month holiday as he has many friends there and he reads,writes and speaks the language.
One day, it was during the second week of his holidays in Finland travelling by train to Kajaani, passengers told him that Makarios was dead.
The situation was serious in Cyprus. He tried to return to Cyprus but the borders were closed. He had to stay in Finland, and was guest at Ekki’s and his family’s house for two months.
Later heI rent a flat in Tampere and worked there to earn some money for his ticket back to Cyprus. In 1974 Erkki published an interview with him in the papers Helsingin Sanomat and Aamu Lehti. In those days Feridun used to listen to the Voice of Turkey and he gave the translated news about the war in Cyprus to Erkki to publish them in Finnish news papers. That is how he started to work as a journalist. Later he often came to Cyprus to visit old friends, both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, and he and his wife were guests at Feridun’s house in Lefke.
Our friendship is of long standing, Feridun said, and one day we discussed to do an exhibition of the photographic works he had made during his many stays in Cyprus.
The exhibition is open from April 7 – 14 and visiting hours are
Monday to Friday 10:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 18:00